Netherlands ready to legalize cannabis - Majority in Dutch parliament supports legalization of commercial cannabis cultivation
After 40 years of procrastination and “tolerant” apathy, it finally looks like the Netherlands is ready to legalize and regulate cannabis. In the Netherlands, the production of marijuana is still illegal, which benefits organized crime. This could change, as a bill legalizing the production of cannabis has just been tabled in the Dutch Parliament. It could be adopted by the general elections next March.
Statu in Holland
For 40 years, the city of Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, has been considered the world center for recreational cannabis. The Netherlands has a substance control policy, with the distinction between hard drug, soft drug, trafficker, and consumer being strictly defined. The consumption of soft drugs has since been tolerated, if it is done discreetly, its purchase being limited to strict personal consumption. The system is therefore based on tolerance, the police not wanting to attack small consumers of soft drugs, but major traffickers. The cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis are still prohibited by law, and any holder and user of cannabis could in theory face a fine and a police custody.
Amsterdam has enjoyed a thriving coffeeshop industry for decades. But the existence of these establishments has long been in a gray area, Coffeeshops are legally allowed to sell up to five grams of cannabis to anyone 18 years of age or over. Establishments are not allowed to stock more than 500 grams of cannabis on the premises, and growers are not allowed to grow more than five plants. transactions are perfectly legal, but coffeeshop owners are breaking the law to get their products off the shelves.
Government reformers are looking to change that. The opposition Democrats 66 (D66) party in September drafted potential legislation to legalize large-scale cannabis cultivation to supply licensed marijuana companies. The cadre was supported by the Green Left Party (GroenLinks), the Socialist Party (PvdD) and the Dutch Labor Party (PvdA).
The only group that has been reluctant in the past and the one in power today is the People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (WD). Supported by their leader, Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the WD fought fiercely against reform cannabis in the past, meaning adoption of the “Colorado model” was out of the question. But that resentment over cannabis clearly changed at the recent WD meeting, where 80% of its members agreed the party should change its views and consider 'smarter regulation' of cannabis. The amendment was adopted within the framework of the parties and paved the way for genuine legislation to be prevented.
Joachim Helms is the owner of the Green House Coffeeshops chain and the president of the Union of Cannabis Retailers in the Netherlands. In an interview with the radio from the NOS public service, Helms said he has heard that the WD wants "national control of regulation." He adds that the Netherlands should look to the next Canadian model, but they should avoid limiting production licenses to large companies like Canada is doing. Helms believes small growers should be allowed to participate as a way to keep consumers at the center of the cannabis industry instead of venture capitalists.
Regardless of the shape and size of the industry, there is no longer any opposition to cannabis reform in the Dutch general elections on March 15, 2017.